An exuberant gypsy film will make its New Zealand debut at the Whanganui Film Society on Monday.

Geronimo is the latest from French-Algerian Romani director Tony Gatlif known for his "gypsy" films such as Latcho Drom and Gadjo Dilo. As with all of Gatlif's films, music is the driving force - plot is a secondary concern - which sits just fine with his many fans though less so with critics.

Geronimo is a West Side Story update about a social educator trying to prevent all-out war between the families of an illicit couple.

Jay Weissberg, reviewing for Variety magazine, said Gatlif claimed he'd never felt freer than during the making of Geronimo.


"[The film was] largely shot outdoors or in a vast abandoned factory that allowed him to think about the action in full 360-degree terms. Not that there's much circling of the camera (thankfully), though there is a vigorous sense of space. Nil Terzi (Nailia Harzoune) is the bride, 16, just forcibly married off to older Tarik (Tim Seyfi). Her lover is Lucky Molina (David Murgia), and once they run away together, Nil's family is out for blood.

"The two families, one of Turkish origin and the other Spanish, live in the south of France. Geronimo (Celine Sallette) is the community 'social educator', a sort of social worker-cum-life coach dedicated to keeping local youth out of too much trouble. A reform school graduate herself, Geronimo doles out tough love and expects the 'hood to show her the same respect she shows them."

Geronimo will screen on August 29 at 7pm at Davis Theatre, Watt St. You must be a member to attend this screening. For more information, including membership details, go to